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Mojave Desert Annuals > Wildflower Photos

The extent and timing of spring wildflower blooms may vary greatly from one year to the next in the California deserts. Blooms are dependent upon many environmental factors, with winter precipitation and spring temperatures the key ones.

In general, spring flowering begins as temperatures rise -- first at lower elevations in February and later at higher elevations in March and April. On mountain tops above 5,000 feet blooms are as late as June.

Some believe that spectacular desert blooms occur on an average about once every twenty years and others say that an ideal year comes once every three or four decades.

Most spring wildflowers in the desert are annuals. Strict germination requirements are a kind of insurance for the seed, keeping it from germinating when it isn't likely to survive to maturity.

Three plants that seem to bloom even in poor years are the Bladderpod, Creosote Bush and the Jimson Weed or Datura.

Common Name Scientific Name Family
Fiddle Neck Amsincaia sp. Borage
Red Stem Filaree Erodium cicutarium
California Poppy Escholtzia californiaca Poppy
Owl's Clover Castilleja exserta Figwort
Davy Gilia Gilia latiflora ssp. Davyi Phlox
Bigelow Coreopsis Coreopsis bigelovii Sunflower
Blue Dicks Dichelostemma capitatum
Cream Cups Platystemon californicus Poppy
Desert Parsley Lomatium mohavense
Lacy Phacelia Phacelia cryptantha Waterleaf
Pygmy-Leaved Lupine Lupinus bicolor Pea
Goldfields Lasthenia californica Sunflower
Little White Forget-Me-Not Cryptantha sp. Borage
Dune Primrose Oenothera deltoides Evening Primrose
Heron's Bill Erodium circutarium Geranium
Desert Hyacinth Brodiaea capitata Lily
Weak Stem Mariposa Calochortus flexuosa Lily
Red Mariposa Calochortus kennedyi Lily
Desert Milkweed Asclepias erosa Milkweed
Water Cress Rorippa sp. Mustard
Golden Gilia Linanthus aureus Phlox
Prickly Poppy Argemone sp. Poppy
Miner's Lettuce Montia sp. Purslane
Monkey Flower Mimulus sp. Snapdragon
Fragrant Penstamen Penstamen palmeri Snapdragon
Fremont's Pin Cushion Chaenactis fremontii Sunflower
Wallace Daisy Eriophyllum wallacei Sunflower
Desert Dandlion Malocothryx glabrata Sunflower
Desert Chicory Rafinesquia californica Sunflower
Purple Mat Nama demissum Waterleaf
Canterbury Bells Phacelia campanularia Waterleaf


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